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MLB Power Rankings: Cubs, Yankees rising fast

May 1, 2015, 11:48 AM EDT

Photo by USA Today

Here is a look at Major League Baseball with analysis from Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman and Nationals writer Chase Hughes:

LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY

30. Brewers – Hughes: (LW: 30) Injuries have killed their lineup and their rotation may be the worst in baseball.

29. Phillies – Hughes: (LW: 29) Aaron Harang (2-2, 2.51) has been a nice surprise in an otherwise rough start to the season for the Phils.

28. Rangers – Zuckerman: (LW: 26) Who knows if Hamilton will help them. But safe to say they’ll help Hamilton way more than the Angels did.

27. Indians – Zuckerman: (LW: 24) Sophomore slump for Cy Young winner Kluber (0-3, 4.24 ERA).

26. White Sox – Zuckerman: (LW: 23) LaRoche hitting .200 with 28 strikeouts, going through a familiar April slump.

25. Twins – Zuckerman: (LW: 28) Pelfrey is only member of rotation with ERA under 4.50. That’s not gonna cut it.

24. Giants – Hughes: (LW: 27) It will be interesting to see how long the Giants stick with Ryan Vogelsong, who has a 9.31 ERA through five outings.

23. Diamondbacks – Hughes: (LW: 22) They have two of the biggest bats in the majors in Paul Goldschmidt and Mark Trumbo, but not much at all surrounding them.

22. Braves – Hughes: (LW: 14) A.J. Pierzynski is defying his age with three homers, 14 RBI and a .422 average so far at 38 years old.

21. Athletics – Zuckerman: (LW: 9) There’s an expectation that if they can just hang around for awhile, they’ll make their customary mid-summer surge.

20. Reds – Hughes: (LW: 19) Johnny Cueto (2-2, 1.95) is off to another great start. He’s going to make a lot of money next winter.

19. Blue Jays – Zuckerman: (LW: 13) Bautista, Encarnacion and Martin all hitting under .200, yet they lead the AL in runs scored?

18. Rockies – Hughes: (LW: 18) One has to wonder if the Rockies will see an opportunity in a wide open NL West this year and trade for some pitching.

17. Mariners – Zuckerman: (LW: 16) The popular surprise pick of 2015 isn’t getting nearly the kind of pitching they should be getting.

16. Marlins – Hughes: (LW: 25) Miami has won seven of eight and now host the Phillies for three games. The Nats could see a red-hot team at Nationals Park next week.

15. Padres – Hughes: (LW: 7) San Diego has lost seven of their last eight and they were just swept by the Astros. Quick, A.J. Preller, make another trade!

14. Rays – Zuckerman: (LW: 21) A good, young rotation could keep these guys more competitive than we expected.

13. Angels – Zuckerman: (LW: 17) Among the least-productive clubs in AL right now. Maybe they should’ve hung onto Hamilton a bit longer, just in case.

12. Orioles – Zuckerman: (LW: 10) Have to admire how everyone in organization has handled a week they won’t soon forget.

11. Pirates – Hughes: (LW: 11) The bottom of their rotation is a mess, but the top with Gerrit Cole (4-0, 1.76) and A.J. Burnett (0-1, 1.80) looks scary.

10. Nationals – Hughes: (LW: 8) The Nationals’ offense is starting to come together. Now it’s time for their rotation to live up to the billing.

9. Red Sox – Zuckerman: (LW: 6) World Series-caliber lineup. 90-loss-caliber rotation. They’ve got to make a move.

8. Astros – Zuckerman: (LW: 15) Feels like they’re still another year away, but maybe just maybe they’ll keep this up.

7. Cubs – Hughes: (LW: 12) Kris Bryant has looked excellent so far with 10 RBI, an .864 OPS and a .318 average. No homers, though, which is kind of ironic given he hit 43 of them in the minors last year.

6. Yankees – Zuckerman: (LW: 20) The Miller-Betances bullpen combo has been near-perfect so far.

5. Mets – Hughes: (LW: 3) The Mets have all of a sudden lost four of their last five and have three more games this weekend against the Nats. The numbers suggest they aren’t a fluke, but we’ll see.

4. Dodgers – Hughes: (LW: 5) Adrian Gonzalez has to be the early front-runner for MVP with eight home runs, 19 RBI and a 1.222 OPS.

3. Tigers – Zuckerman: (LW: 2) Pitching staff isn’t inspiring a lot of confidence right now, but that lineup can still rake.

2. Royals – Zuckerman: (LW: 1) Leading AL in batting average and OBP, second in ERA. Looking like last year was no fluke.

1. Cardinals – Hughes: (LW: 4) It’s tough to see Adam Wainwright go down, as he is one of the best pitchers in baseball. Doesn’t mean the NL should have a DH, though.

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  1. coop202 - May 1, 2015 at 12:23 PM

    I love us… But we’re not close to top 10 yet.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 1, 2015 at 12:48 PM

      Who would you put ahead of them, Coop?

      And that REPORT was an inadvertent whistle. No foul. Please disregard. As you were. Carry on. Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em.

      • coop202 - May 1, 2015 at 1:10 PM

        Pretty much every team through the Marlins, seeing as they swept is just last weekend. Winning three straight after dropping six straight is nice lipstick but putting us in the top 10 is more homerism/reputation than actual performance.

      • coop202 - May 1, 2015 at 1:23 PM

        Now if we continue to play well when we visit the mets like last year and get to 500… I’ll jump on board

    • bowdenball - May 1, 2015 at 2:31 PM

      Depends what you think “power rankings” are supposed to evaluate. If it’s play over the course of the season, of course not. If it’s play over the last week, maybe not. But if it’s how rivals and unbiased observers see the team, the Nats are easily Top 10. They’re Top 5. The oddsmakers put them there when it comes to World Series odds. And I’m 99% sure that if you asked MLB players and managers what teams they think would give them the toughest three game series right now most of them would list the Nats in their top 5.

      I guess the lesson is don’t take these things too seriously. The writers haven’t bothered to define what they mean, so there’s no right or wrong order. They’re just giving us a fun chance to talk about how the other teams around the league are doing these days.

  2. nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 12:43 PM

    Wild swings in the ratings. Yankees jump up 14 spots. Betances walked off the mound gimpy last night.

    On Bryants lack of HRs, hes hit 3 off the outfield wall. Close but no cigar.

    Cardinals #1? I think you should have left them at #4. Losing Wainwright is hard to replace altho I realize they have lost Waino before and had success. Carpenter at leadoff and Holliday are unstoppable at the plate. If teams can figure those 2 out, then they have a shot and still have to deal with Peralta, Adams, and Wong as they are mashing.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 1, 2015 at 12:49 PM

      On Bryant, why is it ironic he hasn’t hit home runs? I don’t get it.

      • nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 1:47 PM

        That is Chase’s word “ironic”. You will have to ask him.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 1, 2015 at 2:07 PM

        I think I figured it out. “Amusingly contrary to expectations.” Or something like that.

  3. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 1, 2015 at 12:46 PM

    Remember that whole thing about how you can’t trade draft picks in baseball? Well, you still can’t, only just until the end of the season, at which point, now you can.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/mlb-fixes-the-trea-turner-problem-for-everyone-else/

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2015 at 1:57 PM

      Oh you’re good as I was coming to post that the idiots didn’t grandfather this to make Trea Turner eligible for trade today!

      • nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 2:03 PM

        If they are changing it, why wouldnt it be retroactive to make Trea Turner available for trade. That makes no sense.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 1, 2015 at 2:11 PM

        The Commissioner could do that, I assume, if he wanted to. I can’t think of a reason the union would object to it. Maybe if San Diego had Turner catching in Low A, he might have. So far, it ain’t broke. The Nats knew the rule when they made the trade, so this is only what they expected for Turner, no more and no less.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2015 at 2:13 PM

        Nats128, thanks for the correct term “retroactive” as I said “grandfather” which would be if you liked the old rule to be covered going forward which wouldn’t be the case here.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 1, 2015 at 2:14 PM

        Oh, and I got it off Mark’s twitter feed, so he’s the one who’s good. But we knew that.

  4. unterp - May 1, 2015 at 1:00 PM

    Nats…

  5. alexva6 - May 1, 2015 at 2:06 PM

    ranking schmankings.

    I remember when my Terps played Florida in the Orange Bowl while ranked in the top 5 in the country. Florida was ranked somewhere 10th or lower but was a 14 point favorite. I think they won by 30.

  6. stoatva - May 1, 2015 at 2:14 PM

    I image Mets fans, if they’re anything like us, have already chalked up “the Harvey game” in the win column.

    Not so fast there…

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